Kanpur’s GSVM Medical College has claimed that that it is the first one in the country to cure blindness through stem cell transplants.


About ‘Stem Cells’

  • These are cells with the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body.
  • Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells.
  • These daughter cells become either new stem cells or specialised cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells or bone cells.
  • No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.
  • They serve as a repair system for the body.
  • Stem cells are present inside different types of tissue. Scientists have found stem cells in tissues, including the brain, bone marrow, blood, and blood vessels, etc.


Types of stem cells

  • There are two types of stem cells.
  • Embryonic stem cells —
      • These stem cells come from embryos that are 3 to 5 days old.
      • At this stage, an embryo is called a blastocyst and has about 150 cells.
      • These are pluripotent stem cells, meaning they can divide into more stem cells or can become any type of cell in the body.
      • This versatility allows embryonic stem cells to be used to regenerate or repair diseased tissue and organs.
  • Adult stem cells —
      • These stem cells are found in small numbers in most adult tissues, such as bone marrow or fat.
      • Compared with embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells have a more limited ability to give rise to various cells of the body.


What is Induced pluripotent stem cells?

These are adult stem cells that have been changed in a lab to be more like embryonic stem cells. These cells behave in a similar way to embryonic stem cells, so they could be useful for developing a range of therapies.